Guest Post: Mark Allan Gunnells – Places You Know
One of the greatest things about being a writer is being able to meet and befriend other writers, to bask in the presence of greatness. This is one of those times. I’m honored and privileged to share with you this guest post by the amazing Mark Allan Gunnells. Bask, reader. Bask in his greatness.
PLACES YOU KNOW
By Mark Allan Gunnells
We writers get to travel to all sorts of places in our imagination. Different cities, countries, even worlds. We can make up places that never existed, visit locals that are exotic to us. It’s part of the fun of the gig.
But personally, while I enjoy all that very much, nothing quite pleases me as much as setting a story in a place I’m intimately familiar with. There is something I really love about taking a location that is real and create my fiction there.
When I recently wrote a novella entitled “The Summer of Winters”, I set it in my hometown in 1983. The place and time I grew up. There was something sort of thrilling about taking the backdrop of my childhood and inserting my fictional tale there. Many of the places I use in the story no longer exist, and I felt almost like I was getting to preserve them in my fiction.
And when I sat down to write my new novel THE QUARRY, I knew I wanted to set it at Limestone College, my alma mater. I spent four really wonderful years of my life on my campus, and in a way writing the book was like getting to go home again. The campus, the buildings, the surrounding neighborhood, I know it so well that it was effortless to set the action of the story in the area.
While I think a story can be just as vibrant and authentic when set in a fictional place, I think when a writer uses a familiar location, a location that means something to him or her, the story has a little something extra special.
I will admit, I do sometimes have the concern that people who live in the areas I write about will take offense to the stories. For instance, I have great love for Limestone College, but I do keep setting stories there where horrible things happen. I would hate to think faculty and administrators look at that and think I’m trying to make some negative statement about the school. So far though everything I’ve heard is that those who are even aware of my fiction are taking it in the spirit that it was intended.
When you sit down to read THE QUARRY—and I really hope you will—it is my hope that you will feel you are there at Limestone College, walking across the quad, and that the setting feels as familiar to you as it does to me.
THE QUARRY can be purchased in trade paperback or digital format here: